This series consists of correspondence records respecting local government.
Municipal Corporations (i.e. metropolitan and provincial urban government bodies) had been the responsibility of the Colonial Secretary's Office since its inception in 1859. Letters from this type of local government authority prior to 1891 had been registered in the main in-letter series and filed accordingly. Divisional Boards were the responsibility of the Works Department from the promulgation of the Divisional Boards Act of 1879 on 1 January 1881, until 1891, and the relevant correspondence is therefore to be found in the records of the Works Department (WOR/N1-24).
In 1891 the Colonial Secretary assumed responsibility for the administration of the various Divisional Boards Acts and from then on, correspondence concerning local authorities of all types was kept in a separate series arranged alphabetically by name of local authority. Some of the letters in this series are considerably earlier than 1891 and were presumably removed from the annual single number sequence of in-letters and placed in the new series for ease of reference. Letters received from 1891 onwards appear to have been assigned a number within the annual single number sequence but the letters were registered in separate registers (SRS3935).
The correspondence refers to such matters as loans from the State government, complaints by residents about valuations and services provided, alterations in boundaries, construction of major public works such as roads and bridges, and the election of local Boards and Councils. It includes also copies of Queensland Government Gazette notices, letters and petitions from ratepayers and other residents to the Colonial Secretary's Office, and maps relating particularly to local authority boundaries.
The series continues beyond the redesignation of the Colonial Secretary's Office as the Home Secretary's Office in 1896.
The terms 'Shire', 'Municipality', 'Division' and 'Borough' require some explanation as in some cases their meanings have changed over the years. Prior to the Local Government Act of 1878, the only local government areas in Queensland were called Municipalities. There were eighteen major towns designated as Municipalities. The 1879 Act provided for Municipalities to be designated Boroughs (i.e. Towns) or Shires (i.e. country areas, mainly fairly densely settled areas close to towns). The Divisional Boards Act of 1879 established Divisions to provide for those country areas not included in Municipalities. In fact most country areas became Divisions rather than Municipal Shires.
Under the Local Authorities Act of 1902 all existing Divisions and Municipal Shires became Shires (i.e. country local government areas) and all existing Municipal Boroughs became Towns, with the exception of Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville, which were designated Cities.